Home to almost 40 million people, California is the biggest state in America in terms of population and third largest by size. The Golden State, as it is nicknamed is often divided into two main sections: Southern California (SoCal) and Northern California (NorCal). CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Ramblin' Redwoods Campground and RV
3.Westport Beach RV Park and Campground
4.Del Loma RV Park
3 Best RV Parks in Northern California
- Overview, Photo: Melissa/stock.adobe.com
- Ramblin' Redwoods Campground and RV, Photo: sodawhiskey/stock.adobe.com
- Westport Beach RV Park and Campground, Photo: Anjelika Gretskaia/stock.adobe.com
- Del Loma RV Park, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: familie-eisenlohr.de/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California was founded in 1915 and features the largest exhibition of ancient Egyptian antiquities on the West Coast of the United States. It is also renowned for the architecture of its building, which was constructed in 1966 in the ancient Egyptian architectural style.
H. Spencer Lewis, founder of the Rosicrucian Order, Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), established the museum in 1928 in San Jose, California. According to the museum, he was inspired by an Egyptian Sekhmet (lion goddess) statue on his table, which later became the first artifact for the museum. Throughout the years, AMORC expanded its collection through private and public donations. More importantly, a large part of its collection came from various excavation trips to Egypt that AMORC had sponsored, including a 1965 trip led by the son of H. Spencer Lewis. It was during a trip to the Temple of Amun in Karnak, located in the modern city of Luxor, that he drew inspiration for the museum’s current architectural design.
Today, the museum houses more than 4,000 pieces, spanning from the pre-dynastic period to the early Islamic era. The organization views itself as ‘caretaker’ of the world cultural institution, to preserve and protect it for future generations to study and enjoy. Apart from the artifacts per se, it has expanded beyond its four walls to include a park that is not only based on an 18th Dynasty Egyptian garden but also contains plants that were grown in ancient gardens. Adjacent to the museum, there is a planetarium offering complimentary daily shows as well as a library.
The museum is also involved with ongoing research projects in collaboration with educational institutions and research agencies to improve understanding and interpretation of its collection. Some of the organizations they have previously worked with are Stanford University Hospital, UCLA and NASA Ames Biocomputation Center, among many others.
The museum’s permanent exhibitions house antiquities from every major period in ancient Egypt, from pre-dynastic to Roman, which spans over 6,000 years. They have been organized into thematic galleries that start from burial practices and a tomb replica through to daily life, religion and kingship. The galleries are also peppered with direct quotes from ancient Egyptian literature and letters, a move that sought to give voice to individuals from the ancient civilization and represent them beyond their most well-known mummies.
The Egyptians are known for their elaborate funerary practices due to the belief that the soul continues to live on even after death. For the living, providing the needs of their ancestors would also ensure the safety and prosperity of the living. The museum contains items from as early as around 3000 BC, a period that is widely recognized as the start of ancient Egyptian civilization. This includes an example of an early box coffin which is made out of wooden planks and minimally decorated. The coffin was intended to protect body from wild animals and was buried directly in the sand together with a few simple burial pots, bowls and other items. Due to the hot arid environmental conditions, the bodies were able to dry out naturally by the desert sand.
In later periods, burial rituals became increasingly more elaborate together with the process of what is known as ‘mummification.’ This was a result of multiple factors including greater religious emphasis on the importance of the body in the afterlife as well as a better understanding of the preservation process. Mummification reached its peak during the New Kingdom between 11 BC and 16 BC. From canopic jars for storing organs to clay burial offerings, the museum offers an extensive collection about death in ancient Egypt, highlighting the importance of the afterlife to ancient Egyptians. On top of that, they also reveal details about their daily lives because the eternal life was conceived to be similar to the everyday but free of disease and unity with the gods.
Two of the museum’s most well kept coffins are of Ta’awa and Usermontu, dating back to the 26th Dynasty, or around 625 BC. Although they arrived in the museum separately at different times from different countries, researchers discovered that both of them were likely to be close relatives, possibly cousins. Each of them are now displayed beside each other in the gallery and represent fine examples of funerary art in the museum.
The museum also houses a full-sized replica of the interior of an ancient Egyptian offering chamber that was based on the rock-cut tombs discovered in Beni Hasan, an area near the modern day city of Minya. Its aim was to create an immersive experience for visitors to walk inside an ancient Egyptian pyramid. The walls are textured to make it resemble limestone and they are adorned with scenes from an important ancient Egyptian funerary text, the Book of the Dead. The rooms are intentionally kept dim to recreate how explorers would have discovered the room.
The daily life exhibition stands in contrast to the earlier gallery where it celebrates the ancient Egyptians love of life, rather than death. A large part of these ancient lives was shaped by the natural environment, in particular the River Nile. The Nile proved to be vital for survival, providing water for farming, fish for food, mud for bricks and reed for papyrus. It was also a main mode of daily transport. This intimate relationship undermines the every day activities of ancient Egyptians.
The collection displays items from people’s public and private life that reveals clearly ascribed gender roles. Men dominated work outside of home, a majority were farmers or fishermen, alongside other forms of professional work, such as scribes and potters. The exhibit showcases tools of the trade as well as the high quality craftsmanship produced by ancient Egyptian workers. They include pottery, metal chains and even surgical sets.
Meanwhile, women ran the household and made sure that the ancestors were properly worshipped at home. Her primary responsibility was to bear as many children as possible, in part due to the high mortality rate. Furthermore, children were also responsible for ensuring that their parents received proper burial to guarantee their journeys into the afterlife. Fertility was therefore a main concern for Egyptian families, which is reflected in the amulets and fertility figures commonly found in many households. They could be seen in the museum’s collection, together with a spinning bowl and spindles that was widely regarded as a woman’s work.
One of the museum’s oldest artifacts is also located in this gallery. The set of four bracelets made of shell and ivory dates back to at least 6,000 years ago. They were found near the body of a pre-dynastic woman. There are also items used for entertainment and relaxation, including wooden senet board. Senet was a widely popular board game played by people from all walks of life in ancient Egypt.
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Religion was an all-encompassing concept for ancient Egyptians, closely interwoven with every aspect of their lives from birth to death and affecting pharaohs and commoners alike. Understanding parts of it unlocks the rich breadth and depth the civilization has got to offer.
Ancient Egyptians believed in a plethora of gods and goddesses who are in one way or another related to one another in complex webs of relationships. Some of the most prominent and important deities include Osiris, god of the underworld, his wife Isis, goddess of health, wisdom and marriage, and their son Horus, god of the sky, war and hunting. They are well-represented in the museum’s collection in numerous forms, such as statutes, drawings and on steles.
The government of ancient Egypt was closely linked to the religious system. Pharaohs have derived their ruling mandate from their relationship with the gods, considering themselves the descendent of the gods or ‘Living Horus.’ Most of the exhibited artifacts came from the ancient city of Tell el-Amarna because AMORC had previously sponsored excavation activities there.
One of the exhibits highlights is the statute of Cleopatra, who was the last and possibly most famous pharaoh of ancient Egypt. It is one of the few images of the female ruler that still remains today. Standing at 116cm (46 inches), the statue’s body had been modeled after classical forms as a means to allude to the queen’s lineage with generations of her family’s rule. The face and the triple cobra diadem suggest that the statue portrays Cleopatra.
The significant portion of the museum’s collection are votives or offerings people present to god in order to establish a personal relationship with the higher being. A popular form of offering is a mummified animal that ranged widely from cats to snakes. Among the collection is a baboon that was used to honor Thoth, or god of the moon, who was sometimes depicted as a baboon. X-Ray results revealed that the votive contained no actual animal or its parts inside. Instead, it is formed around a ceramic jar that gives its shape and size.
1660 Park Ave, San Jose, CA 95191, Phone: 408-947-3635
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Attraction Spotlight: San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles in California celebrates the art, craft and history of quilting and textile creation and is the first museum in the United States to focus on fiber art through historical and contemporary exhibitions.
The San Joe Museum of Quilts and Textiles in San Jose, California was the first museum in the United States to showcase quilts and textile art exclusively. Opened in 1977 as American Museum of Quilts and Related Arts as a store front in Los Altos by the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association, the mission of the museum was to highlight women artists and demonstrate how quilting and textile art was an important vehicle of artistic and social expression for women in the area.
The museum became an incorporated nonprofit museum in 1986 and established a board of trustees. After having many temporary homes included rented retail spaces, a Spanish colonial home, and shopping center, the Museum joined with Steven Oliver, President of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art board to purchase a 13,000-square foot historic property that was built in 1923. The space underwent renovations costing $1.3 million and opened in September 2005 in its current, permanent location.
18,000 people visit the museum annually which is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers free admission on the first Friday of each month during extended hours and pay what you can admission during regular open hours.
The museum collection is comprised of 850 quilts, American and ethnic textiles, and clothing. Many of the artifacts were gifted to the museum from the museum founders. The exhibits at the museum are temporary and rotating, designed by the curators from artifacts chosen from the permanent collection.
The Collection- The permanent collection of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is comprised of more than 1,000 textile art pieces and quilts from around the world. Curators at the museum use select pieces from the collection to create the exhibitions. While the entire collection is not open to the public, private tours can be booked with advance registration and fees. One of the main objects of the museum is to promote the role that Bay Area artists had on the fiber art industry through the latter half of the 20th century. The collection is focused on holdings in historic American and European quilts, contemporary art quilts from California quilters, contemporary, wearable fiber art, and modern fiber art post 1940.
FiberSapce Exhibition Program- This special exhibition space at the museum provides a platform for community members to curate their own professional exhibits. Proposals must be submitted to the museum and all exhibits must have a clear theme with three or more artists being showcased. Proposal applications can be found and submitted online.
AIR Program- The Artist in Residency program allows for an artist to take up residency in the museum for a three-month period during which they will be granted a studio space to work and exhibit space to showcase that work. Single artists and collaborative groups from the Bay Area are welcome to apply for the residency program.
The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles hosts more than 5000 students each year through field trips and community group tours. Tours include education on and hands on interaction with the textiles and art in the museum. Themes of history, science, environment, and women’s art and storytelling are some of the ways the docents incorporate resources for higher education.
Higher Education Tours- These tours are 40 minutes guided and 20 minutes self-exploration with writing activities and hands on activities when more than 30 people are included in the group. Specialized tours are available as well as the research library by appointment.
School Tours- Student tours include a 45-minute docent guided tour and a 45-minute textile art activity with learning through Visual Arts Content Standards of California and inquiry-based learning.
Senior and Adult Tours- These tours are 60 minutes total with 20 minutes of the tour being self-guided. For adults, there is an optional hand on activity that can be added to reservations and optional group activities. Senior will appreciate the fully handicap accessible space with all exhibitions found on the first floor of the museum.
Renting the Museum- There are 3 galleries that accommodate up to 200 guests as well as an event space that seats 48 that is separate from the galleries. These spaces are suitable for lectures, artist receptions, meetings, and team building activities. Food and drink are only allowed in the event space and not permittable in the galleries. Rental of the space outside of normal business hours requires 30 days advance notice.
520 S. First Street, San Jose, California, 95113, website, Phone: 408-971-0323
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Attraction Spotlight: The Tech Interactive
The Tech Interactive in San Jose, California delivers family friendly, interactive experience focused in science and technology for people of all ages and was awarded a National Medal for Museum and Library Science in 2015. This award is the highest honor a museum in the United States can have bestowed.
The idea for The Tech Interactive came from the Junior League of Palo Alto in 1978 with the Junior League of San Jose joining the collaboration shortly after. The Garage opened in 1990 in the former downtown San Jose convention center and became a educational resource in science and technology for children and families. In 1998, the facility moved into a 132,000-square foot facility and became The Tech Interactive .
The museum hosts 500,000 visitors annually and works with internationally renowned programs to make science and technology accessible for everyone. The museum is open daily from 10am-5pm and only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The Tech’s galleries offer interactive experience that explore technological advancement, history and innovation. Exhibits can change regularly making each visit to the museum unique.
Bio Design Studio- This studio focuses on how biology and technology have become integrated and is poised to propel future innovation. Exhibits here are interactive and hands on while education on synthetic and DIY biology, bioengineering, and biological design.
Body Metrics- Wearable technology allows visitors a chance to peek into their physical and emotional selves while exploring their own body metrics and health care techniques that are advancing biological understanding and mental wellbeing. Exhibits are meant to inspire visitors to improve their health.
Cyber Detective- The first exhibit in the US to educate visitors on internet safety, crime associated with online activities and internet security. This exhibit is best for children over 12.
Exploration Gallery- One of the most popular exhibits, visitors can explore phenomena of the earth such as earthquakes and experience the weightlessness of being in outer space.
Innovation in Health Care-Learn about how a dog can sniff out cancer, remotely diagnose medical conditions, find new ways to bring water to developing nations, experiment with new materials and build constraints, and learn about vaccines, nanotech, and 3D Printing.
Reboot Reality- This new exhibit brings digital technology to the lab through virtual, augmented and mixed reality companies and researchers. This exhibit allows visitors to create 3D virtual art, explore other worlds, and experience a story in a whole new way.
Social Robots- Build your own robot while visiting this exhibit that allows guests to use technology otherwise inaccessible to most people.
The Tech Studio- A collaborative space used to problem solve STEAM experiences and designing technology such as wind powered cars that will bring out the innovator in all ages.
While the galleries and labs are full of education in science and technology, The Tech also offers workshops and drop in activities to enhance the learning experience. Workshops and activity schedules can be found online. Advance registration for workshops is recommended as they fill up quickly. Drop in activities can be found in the Tech Studio and Atrium and are free with general admission to The Tech.
The Bowers Institute- This resource for educators allows teachers access to online resources, and a multi-year intensive program that will build their skills in Design Challenge Learning and STEM teaching curriculum.
Field Trips- Students from K-12 can enjoy field trips at The Tech with title one schools in California receiving free admission. Students can explore the galleries, labs, and watch a production in the IMAX Theater. Booking a field trip can be done online.
The Tech Challenge- This annual event invites students in grades 4-12 to solve a real-world problem using engineering. Projects are collaborative and teams spend months designing their projects which are presented in a weekend showcase in April where they must show their solution in action. Judges are present and awards are given out.
Girl Scouts- The museum offers opportunities for Girl Scouts from brownies to cadets to earn badges while participating in The Tech exhibits and programming. Badge programs are limited to 25 participants and must have a minimum of 10 girls.
IMAX Theater- The IMAX Theater features educational films focused on science, technology, and biology. Each film is 45 minutes long with a schedule and details on films available on line and in The Tech Museum.
Summer Camps- The Tech offers summer camps annually for grades 4-8 where participants will explore real world subjects with professional educators. Registration is limited; however, 18 classes are offered.
201 South Market Street, San Jose, California, 95113, Phone: 408-294-8324
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